Mos Def is to retire his long-time performing alias at the end of this year. “It’s time to expand and move on,” the rapper said, explaining that he will start calling himself Yasiin.
“I’m actually doing it,” Mos Def told MTV. “That’s it. Mos Def is a name that I built and cultivated over the years, it’s a name that the streets taught me, a figure of speech that was given to me by the culture and by my environment, and I feel I’ve done quite a bit with that name. [But] it’s time to expand and move on.”
This is a big change for the musician and actor, born Dante Smith. Even his earliest releases, as a member of Urban Thermo Dynamics, most definitely bore his nickname. “Yes, Mos Def is the handle,” he shouted on De La Soul’s Stakes Is High (Remix), in 1996. “Try to test [me] and get suppressed like a government scandal.” The name even followed him on to the silver screen, where Mos Def has appeared in films such as Be Kind Rewind and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Yasiin is a name in the Qur’an’s 36th surah, one of its most important verses. The rapper converted to Islam in his teens. “[I don’t want] to deal [any more] with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as,” Mos Def said.
His fourth solo album, The Ecstatic, was released in 2009
Source: The Guardian – UK
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